News release

SRA publishes family law research

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has published independent research exploring the experiences of potentially vulnerable people using family law services.

Among those surveyed, most solicitors appear to be providing services in line with expected standards. One area where generally firms appear to be doing a good job is helping people to make choices about the services they need. Firms achieved this by, for example, training staff to receive initial calls, or setting up longer or free initial meetings.

Yet there are also areas for improvement. For instance, the research showed that it is difficult for those who need family law services to access information on costs and a solicitor's experience. This makes it difficult for them to compare different legal service providers and make informed choices.

Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive, said: "People who need to use family law services are often in particularly vulnerable situations. Situations such as divorce or child custody arrangements are highly emotional and stressful, and the consequences of poor legal services can be life changing.

"It is important that people can find services that meet their needs and that those services are affordable. This research is a contribution to understanding the current landscape and what more can be done to help."

Some of the findings around lack of information for consumers support the conclusions of the Competition and Markets Authority's report into the legal services market. The SRA has already begun work to see how better information could help people make more informed choices about the legal services they need. It also will carry out more work to determine the prevalence and impact of some of the issues outlined in the research.

Read the report